cooking, Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Mother’s Day – Better Late Than Never

Don’t worry –  I didn’t forget Mother’s Day.  I was oh-so-dilligent, producing a homemade card and breakfast.  I just had some…issues…securing appropriate photographs.


This is not one of the giant apple pancakes (à la Pancake House, but better!) I made last week.  Those got devoured within minutes of their hitting the table, and it wasn’t until we were halfway through that I remembered my camera was in the other room.  This is from a second batch, made today, and with camera close at hand.  It’s criminal how good these are, and how easy they are to make, too.  This may be my new special occasion recipe.

And it’s not Mother’s Day without a homemade card, is it?


I found the pattern in an issue of Cute Cross Stitch I bought last summer, and had pretty much hung onto the magazine specifically for this card collection.  I modified it a bit – made the kitty’s nose black to look like mine, and left off the tail since she’s a bobtail – and mounted it on some pink cardstock I had on hand.

Happy May Long!

baking, Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Birthday Quickie

Ha!  You thought this was going to be something salacious, didn’t you?  Get your mind out of the gutter; this is a wholesome, family-friendly post.  Literally, actually, since it was my mom’s birthday the other day, and I’ve only just gotten around to posting pictures.

Since the birth-flower for January is the carnation, I snapped up this mini-kit when I saw it at my local needlework shop a few months ago, figuring it was a card just waiting to happen:


The corally-pink card, although not exactly a match for the flowers, matches almost exactly the top I bought her.  She claims this was a deliberate theme; I claim coincidence.

But what’s a birthday without cake?  After all, you don’t really care for someone if you don’t bake them a birthday cake, yadda yadda, you’ve heard this before.  After drooling over pretty much all the cakes in Kris Holechek’s Have Your Cake and Vegan Too, I decided on the Almond Mocha Cake.  It’s like an almond mochaccino in cake form!


Layers of moist almond cake with a rich chocolate ganache in between, and topped off with a coffee buttercream?  Yes, please!

We started the day with banana-split French toast, but that disappeared before I could get my camera…

And now, I’m off for a piece of cake…

baking, Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Happy Mother’s Day!

This year has been a far cry from last year’s adding French knots and framing on Sunday morning.  For once, I actually came prepared for Mother’s Day.

Besides the towel that I posted last weekend, I stitched up a little card for Mumsie:

It was a free kit that came with a recent issue of Cross Stitcher magazine.  The kit included googly eyes that looked freaky-deaky (the mama koala looked merely surprised; the baby looked like a strung-out Keane kid), so I added French knots to give a somewhat more natural look.

And you can’t have Mother’s Day without dessert, can you?

This is a variation on the raw strawberry cheesecake from The Post Punk Kitchen.  I made the filling as per the recipe, but used the vanilla cookie crumb crust from Vegan Pie in the Sky instead.  I’m not normally a cheesecake fan, but this wasn’t bad – light and mousse-ish, with a nice strawberry flavour.

The cake, incidentally, made a lovely finish to our breakfast of cocoa-Kahlua pancakes from Hearty Vegan Meals for Monster Appetites.  Dense and chewy, they were like eating brownies for breakfast.  Yum!

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

baking, Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Paws up for birthday cake!

What is it with Margaret Sherry and cute cat designs?  While flipping through a back issue of Cross Stitcher magazine on New Year’s Eve (is that a debaucherous evening or what?), I found the perfect design to turn into a card for my mom’s birthday.  While the red velvet pancakes were charring cooking, she opened a rather unassuming white envelope to find this staring back at her:

I used 18-count fabric instead of 14 as called for by the magazine to get it to fit in the card, and used random colours that looked close enough to those on the model – perfect way to use what I had laying around.  I love the concerned look on his face, and promised to use fewer candles on her birthday cake – if only by one.

(Please excuse the “arty” shot.)

I don’t think the cake could have been any simpler to make: a double batch of the basic chocolate cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, divided between two round layer pans, topped with a coffee-and-Kahlua’ed version of the chocolate buttercream frosting from the same.  Because I had serious doubts about my ability to wield a tube of decorating gel, I had the foresight to trace the words onto the top using a toothpick, and then follow the lines.  Hey, it may not be terribly skillful, but it worked.

And now that it’s all over, I get to breathe easy again, at least until Mother’s Day.

Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Hellooooo, nurse!…er, I mean, Hello Kitty

I almost have the feeling that I haven’t been terribly crafty since the holidays – but then I realize, that isn’t strictly true: I’ve been sufficiently productive, but without much to show for it.  For example, a couple of weeks back I completed a set of curtains of which, due to the sunniness of their location, I was unable to obtain a decent photo.  And I’ve been working slowly but steadily, since late December, on a rather large needlepoint picture, effectively adding another UFO to my pile.  At approximately 38,416 stitches, it’s going to take me a while, but it will get done.

Despite these large-ish undertakings, I managed to work up the requisite hand-stitched card for my mom’s birthday at the end of January.

Actually, I’m the Hello Kitty fan in the house, but what better way for her to remember who it’s from?  That’s 14-count Lavender (or Lilac?) Whisper aida cloth, although the next time I attempt one of the charts from that leaflet, I’ll be using evenweave – the freaky-deaky backstitch was annoying, but ultimately with great effect.

Cross-stitch and Embroidery

What’s shakin’, Daddyo?

So here’s the problem with parents: you stitch a card for one, and then the other one starts clamouring for one.  Okay, so not really – but I couldn’t not make a homemade card for my dad for Father’s Day.  I found a motif in an old issue of Cross Stitch Crazy that bore a vague resemblance to our youngest cat, Skeeter, and then changed the markings just a bit to make it look more like her.

That mocha-y colour around her face is the result of tweeding, my friends.  Oh, and the ball has blending filament in it for a little added sparkle.

She seems to approve:

(And so did he, for what it’s worth.)  Also under the Homemade Goodness category, I made the No-Bake Black-Bottom Peanut Butter Silk Pie from Vegan With a Vengeance. It didn’t turn out quite as it should have, I suspect – agar tends to behave unpredictably for me, and this time, although it firmed up somewhat, there was no way it would hold its shape once cut – but I calmly stuck the whole thing in the freezer and turned it into a really delicious dairy-free ice-cream-type dessert.  I miss ice cream cake sometimes, but this was definitely a worthy substitute.  How worthy?  It got devoured, and I didn’t get a picture.

Cross-stitch and Embroidery

Mother’s Day Post: Short n’ Sweet

I don’t think I could let a Mother’s Day pass without making at least some small handmade item…that would be too weird.  I knew I wanted to do a stitched card this year, and after flipping through my ample collection of British stitchery magazines, I decided on this one for two reasons:

1) Mumsy likes dragonflies (this sort of stems from the fact that the kitties like watching and chasing them in the back yard, and since the card was supposed to be from the kitties, well, that made perfect sense)

2) It was a welcome break from my latest project, a Charles Wysocki kit called “Too Pooped” which, though enjoyable, has possibly the largest tree ever and is primarily brown and more brown.

Bonus: Now that I’ve finished it, I feel confident that I can one day tackle the Frederick the Literate kit I’ve got stashed away.

Without further ado:

Happy Mother’s Day!